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Concise Directory of Available Symbols

A number of symbols can be accessed by pressing Alt and the symbol's corresponding number on the numeric keypad (such as Alt+171 for the one-half symbol). You may be wondering if there is a handy directory of all the "symbol numbers" that can be used to produce different characters in this manner.

The important thing to remember is that this technique doesn't actually insert symbols. What it does is provide a quick way to add a character in a specific font. For instance, typing Alt+171 doesn't really insert the one-half symbol; it inserts the character corresponding to the ANSI code 171. What character is represented by that code depends on the font in use at the current time. In many fonts that character may, indeed, be a one-half symbol, but in other fonts it may be something entirely different.

There are many different resources you can use to discover what ANSI codes can be used to produce different characters. If you are looking for a printed reference, any good programming book should include an appendix that contains either ASCII or ANSI codes. There are also a number of resources available online. The following are some suggested by WordTips readers, in no particular order:


You can also download various character charts from Microsoft, at this address:


Another handy tool, created by Jon Peltier, is the workbook at this address:


The workbook contains a sheet of all ASCII character codes from Alt+0033 to Alt+0255 in four fonts of your choosing. If you don't see a character you like, you can click on the floating menu and select up to four new fonts.

If you have a symbol that you use quite often, you might find it useful to just create an AutoCorrect entry for the symbol. Word makes this easy; all you need to do is use Insert | Symbol, locate and select the symbol you want, and then click on the AutoCorrect button. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box where you can specify what you want to type that will result in the symbol being inserted.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (206) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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Comments for this tip:

Steve Wells    11 Jan 2013, 22:19
Double Oops!!
ampersand radic semicolon is seven (7) characters.
What a shame that I can't edit my earlier postings.
Sorry for any confusion.
Steve Wells    11 Jan 2013, 22:16
Oops. The website converted the html codes to their replacement values.
The radical code is ampersand radic semicolon [6 characters all together without any spaces] The other purely numeric code that I had found on the Internet did not work well, so just use the radical symbol if you want, but I recommend using formatted text with the correct font instead of an imperfect symbol.
Steve Wells    11 Jan 2013, 22:09
For Edward Dundon:
I assume you are trying to create what (in British and some other forms of English) is called a tick mark and what many Americans (such as I am) call a check mark. I will call it a check mark and use the letters “chk” for creating a sample AutoCorrect entry for use in Word. I am writing these steps and suggestions in a very elementary how-to for morons style, but please excuse my thoroughness. I presume you are actually a skilled user merely trying to cope with a somewhat tricky point of Word usage.

But first, you talk about inserting the mark in the Internet. I’m not sure what you mean by that, but here are some ideas. If you are writing or creating documents that will be saved in html format to use within a webpage, you can use the html code √ or ₲ [include both the ampersand and semicolon] to produce a radical (square root) symbol. If you are just copying formatted text that might include and depict a Wingdings font checkmark, just copy it from a Word document. That assumes the font information also will be set into the underlying html code.

Perhaps you are just trying to produce this checkmark symbol easily in Word. Here are several ways:
Alt+X toggle:
1. Type the hexadecimal code for the checkmark, “F0FC” [that’s f zero f c, three letters with a zero as the second character.]
2. Select those four newly typed characters.
3. Press Alt+X.
4. Set the resulting single character to the Wingdings font.
5. Set the size you want.

Direct Alt entry:
1. Press and hold an Alt key.
2. Type the decimal code for the checkmark 61692 [that the decimal equivalent of the hexadecimal F0FC.]
3. Release the Alt key.
4. Set the resulting single character to the Wingdings font.
5. Set the size you want.

Character Map:
1. Run the Character Map application, CharMap.exe, usually found in C:WindowsSystem32 or available from the Start Menu in something like All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map. [Sorry, I tossed Vista for Windows 7 long ago, so I can’t guarantee the precise menu path.]
2. In the Character Map dialog box, for Font, select Wingdings.
3. Scroll down in the table toward the end and select (click) the checkmark, the fourth-from-last character. Note the confusing Character Code at the bottom of the box, 0xFC, which (atypically) is not very useful.
4. Click the Select button, and then click the Copy button.
5. Open the desired Word document, or if it is already open, press Alt+Tab as necessary to get back to it.
6. Click within the document to place the cursor at the desired location.
7. Press Ctrl+V or use a menu option to paste the checkmark into your document.
8. Set the size as desired. Some text that is pasted from Character Map comes in at odd sizes for no obvious reason.

AutoCorrect Entry: [This is what I would do if I planned to use the checkmark often.]
1. Create a Wingdings checkmark in a document by any of the methods above.
2. Set it to the size that you will use most frequently. (This specific size, such as 10pt, will be associated with the AutoCorrect entry.)
3. Select the Wingding checkmark, and nothing else.
4. Open the AutoCorrect dialog box from the menu: Tools > AutoCorrect Options or by any other method.
5. In the Replace box, type the text you want to have automatically replaced. I use “chk” as a mnemonic for the American term, checkmark. Use whatever bit of text suits your purpose, but I recommend a short non-word so you won’t find ordinary words being replaced accidently.
6. Because you had selected the checkmark, it will populate the With box automatically.
7. Click the Formatted text button so that the Wingdings font and size will be associated with the entry.
8. Click OK.
9. Mark down somewhere what you’ve set as the AutoCorrect item. If you set many of these, it will help to have a convenient list of your custom settings.
Now, in Word documents, every time you type “chk” (or whatever you used) followed by a space or punctuation, it will automatically be replaced with a 10pt Wingdings checkmark. The setup is longer, but not difficult--you do it once for each item and gain a permanent quick fix.
(I have more than 250 quick type-replacements available in my AutoCorrect settings and listed in my cheat sheet “paper” list. For example, my list includes settings to replace “fe” with “for example” and “avl” with “available”. I type a lot of what looks like short text-message abbreviations that automatically turn into proper words. Note that AutoCorrect does a good job of handling promotion to uppercase. Experiment a bit and you’ll see what I mean.

Most Microsoft Office users do not realize how useful and powerful AutoCorrect is for avoiding hard work. It took only half a minute to set up things so that I can type “wa” for my work address and “wph” for my work phone. These and others save me a lot of time and effort, and I avoid spelling errors when I type “apx” or “im” for “approximately” or “immediately”.
I hope this helps you and other users.
Steve Wells    11 Jan 2013, 20:14
Many of the more recently designed Microsoft fonts include a fairly consistent set of numbered character symbols. You can use the Character Map (CharMap.exe) application to open a dialog box that shows codes (at the bottom of the box) for the characters in each font, and you can select and copy characters from the dialog box without having to type their code values. However, if use certain symbols frequently, you can create a simple cheat sheet that lists the codes you use most often, so that you can type them directly from the number-pad keys. As was given in the main tip for ASCII characters, press and hold an Alt key, type 171 on the keypad, and release the Alt key to get a one-half character.

What if you need a character that the font includes, but it doesn’t have an ASCII code? For example, you might need the one-third character, which many fonts do include, as in Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Verdana, and many other fonts. You can select and copy it from the Character Map dialog box, or note that its hexadecimal value is 2153. So, you can type 2153, select those four characters, and press Alt+X to toggle it to a one-third character (or back, as when someone sends you a character for which you might want to know the code.) If you expect to use it a lot, add it to your cheat sheet.

But wait! If you’re going to write down (type) a number into your sheet, why not use an even better trick. You can enter Unicode characters the same easy way as the ASCII characters, if you use their decimal (instead of the hexadecimal) values. Many calculators can convert between hex and decimal, or ask a techie friend to help. You only need to convert the number once. For my cheat sheet, I have the one-third character, and next to it, the decimal equivalent of 2153, which is 8531. So to type one-third, I press and hold an Alt key, type 8531, and release the Alt key. The one-third character appears. I wouldn’t even need to bother including the hex value in my cheat sheet, just the decimal value. Then I don’t have to bother with selecting the code and pressing Alt+X.

Actually, my cheat sheet is a spreadsheet that includes the hex values in hidden columns and their decimal equivalents in visible columns based on the HEX2DEC function. I didn’t even have to do the conversions manually with a calculator. My cell M26 contains 2153, and the visible cell contains =HEX2DEC(M26) to display 8531. If you want a copy of my Excel sheet to build your own, use as a starting point that shows how it works, or just print (8.5×11, 1-side) and use as-is, email me.
Allan Corfield    07 Jan 2013, 02:18
Just in case some may need to use Unicode there is an alternative that is just as easier and works for the entire Unicode set, at least in WORD.

Type the hex code and the ALT+X

Foe example
0058 then ALT+X gets you "Y"

Some of us also use short keyboards without a dedicated Number Pad. To use th Number Pad we must use Num Lock.

This makes for inconvenience in excessive use of NumLock 6r we get dr5ve3.
Edward A Dundon    05 Jan 2013, 05:08
January 5, 13

I have a problem with inserting the thick sign in Internet. I am using Vista and when I use the configuration Alt 251, I get a suerscript 1 sign. Using the Document map is awkward. I can use the Symbol Alt 0252 in Windows XP with effect (with Wingdings) to obtain a thick sign.
I would be grateful if you know of a keyboard short cut for this sign. I realize that the Alt 251 is a square root,but it is near to what I want.

Many thanks

Edward A Dundon

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